Sunday, 30 November 2008

A lesson to learn

I've just read an article that stated that you shouldn't practise writing you should practise finishing the writing projects that you start. Now there's a lesson I should definately learn.

One year one

On this day a year ago I wrote on this blog that I had a big personal week ahead and that I wasn't going to set myself anything too difficult. I stated that in this week I would:
1. Work on my Topsy project
2. Develop an idea from my work in progress folder.
3. Come up with an ending to a half written story that I had come across.
One year on I can report that:
1. The Topsy project still isn't completed.
2. My WIP folder grows bigger by the day.
3. That story still doesn't have an ending.
Wasn't a very good week writing wise was it. Personally it was terrific and that's what really matters.
I think that this wa sthe week when my attitude to writing and what it actually means to me changed.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Revisiting chapter 3

I was having a conversation with Himself yesterday when he made a throw away comment about something. (Sorry, I can't be more specific without giving something of the plot of my book away.)It was just one of those comments that you make and then forget you ever said 30 seconds later. But as soon as the words were out of his mouth a lightbulb went on as I thought of how it could be introduced into my book. I thought about it for a while and wrote the passage last night. It's not a long passage probably not even 100 words but I do think that the story is better for it. Do you know what? (sorry bit of colloquialism there but this is a conversation between friends) Writing this has just made me think about what I wrote last night and I think that I might mention it again later - a bit of a theme. Now there's a thought.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Turn around times

Has anyone had a story accepted by "Best" recently and how long had they had the story? They've had a story of mine for 3 months which is way longer than they've held onto anything else I've sent them. I'm hoping it's a good sign.

Thanks Annie

Thanks Annie for the insructions on how to add a link. There'll beno stopping me now.

Annie's Award

The lovely Annie gave me this Marie Antionette award last week for which I am very grateful. I'm supposed to name 7 people that I want to forward this on to and add a link to their page. I have to tell you though that I haven't a clue where to start with the adding a link thing. But I was so pleased to get it that I had to put it here. Sorry for breaking the rules Annie.
Also if I could add a link I would struggle to find 7 blogs that I read on a regular basis that haven't been nominated already. I think that I could come up with 3 and they would be
Captain Black
I would love it if someone could give me an idiots guide to adding a link.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Since we last spoke

I've just realised that haven't posted anything on here for over a week even though I've visited my usual blogs almost every day. I don't know why that is other than maybe I've had nothing to say on the writing front.
I'm trying to remember what I've written since the last time I blogged and I've not completed anything new although I've pottered a bit with a couple of new ideas and I've submitted two short stories and an article. That's not so bad.
Himself and I went Christmas shopping on Thursday and got almost everything apart from each others which was very satisfying. I can't bear Christmas shopping. Well not so much the shopping as the queues.
I have my customary couple of hours free today (Sunday) for writing but before I get to that I have something else to work on. My good friend J (I won't mention her full name - you know, privacy and all that) has asked me to produce a piece of art for an exhibition that she is in charge of. It's all to do with "peace" and "lines of communication" and I have to say that I'm quite excited by it. It's still creative but totally different from what I would normally do. I will point out to you all though that I am not a visual artist in any way, shape or form. J knows this and still wants me to do it.
I'll try not to leave it so long next time.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Well done calistro

I do hope that calistro doesn't mind me posting this but here goes. I'm sure that you're all familiar with her blog and know this already but I thought that it was worthy of comment. In common with a lot of the blogs that I read, I haven't visited her blog for a couple of weeks but I was there this morning and read that she's got herself a publisher. This is fantastic news and her agent has done a great job in a relatively short time.
I just wanted to say here, publicly on my blog that I am really happy for you calistro and your success gives hope to the rest of us. It really can happen if we work at it.
For those of you that aren't familiar with calistro's blog follow the writing about writing link.
I'm now off to check the other places that I haven't bee to in a while. Who knows what's been going on.

All answers welcome

I know that the answer to this question is going to be "Whatever works for me" but that's the problem. I'm not sure what works for me and I'd appreciate some other viewpoints.
Here is my conundrum.
My book has passed it's second draft phase and is now being edited/polished etc. You may remember that following the advice given to me by my friend after she had read the first few chapters I decided to make a few changes.
My editing process is basically going through the whole thing from the start and correcting typo's, continuity errors or whatever as I go along and making changes to the storyline. The problem is that I find that I'm constantly going back over what I did, changing it.I think that I am striving for perfection too much which is very odd because I never do that in any other walk of life.
So, what I would be interested in is how you go around the editing process, especially of longer pieces of writing and how do you stop yourself becoming neurotic?

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Beating the hex

I've submitted a couple of short stories this week and an article proposal which is the first in a couple of months at least. I thought that I'd better send them off now so I'm able to beat the writers hex that is December. At the start of the year it was my intention to submit more regularly, at least once a month but you know what life is like. It has a habit of getting in the way of what you want to do, so the submitting just hasn't happend. Oh well, there's always next year ("if God spares me" as my friend would say.)
PS Just out of interest where should that last full stop go? Should it in inside or after the bracket?

Sunday, 9 November 2008

What I was thinking

I don't know if it's the time of year that's coming up (the end of it that is) but I've started to think about things. I won't bore you with the bulk of it because it had nothing to do with writing and we're all worried about the price of electricity and gas so there's no point whinging about it. But here's what I thought about my writing.
I should point out that I have no idea what I am going to write now. I just know that I wanted to blog about this but haven't really thought about it. Regular visitors may know that once it's written on here I don't change it because in normal conversation you can't unsay (possibly not a word) something that you have said. So here goes.
I've been writing semi seriously for just under 2 years. By semi seriously I mean that I have a day job that takes up the bulk of my day, a family that take up another chunk and writing gets fitted in half an hour here and there. I don't have the success rate that some of the people writing the blogs that I read have. Maybe that's because they commit more time and effort to their writing or maybe they're just better than me. Either way I don't begrudge them their success.
In my two years of writing I've been published probably a dozen or so times. I haven't actually counted it but it will be somewhere around there and almost all of those hits came in the first year. 2008 hasn't been a tremendous success for me but maybe that's because my priorities changed at the end of 2007 when I realised that in the grand scheme of things being a successful writer wasn't the most important thing to me. But it must still be important to me or I wouldn't still be doing it. I could write for pleasure and tuck it away in a drawer if that was the only reason I did it. But I don't. I still submit things even if it is on a not too regular basis so I must still want the recognition that someone likes what I have created. And if that is the case, am I trying hard enough? The honest answer to that one is probably not but like I said before it's hard to give something all your attention when you know that at the end of the day it doesn't matter. Maybe if I depended on the money I earn from writing to pay the gas bill I would give it more time. But then, if I depended on it to pay the gas bill I would be writing as a job so I could give it more time.
So I asked myself a few questions.
Q. Why do I write?
A. Primarily for pleasure.

Q. What is the other reason.
A. I get a buzz out of getting an acceptance.

Q. In an ideal world, how would your writing world work?
A. I'd still have a job because I actually like my job (and the regular income that comes with it) but I would find more time to write. I would have more hits than misses and earn the odd bob or two for the retirement fund.

Well that's as far as my thinking got because my mum rang and I was chatting to her and then got on with other stuff.
But basically I have accepted that my opportunities may be limited but I can make the best of them - if I really want to - and I do.
Maybe I need to remember what a former boss of mine who turned out to be a great mate used to say.
"Work smarter not harder." It used to annoy the hell out of me when he said that but he was right.
I have only a small amount of time that I can give over to writing so I need to make sure that I make the most of the time that I do have. That will include studying the market more which is something I know I don't do enough of.
So in conclusion to this very random blog I would say something that I have seen written on dozens of my school reports. "Must try harder."

Something to work on

I've just counted up the stories that I have sitting in my short story folder. There are 31 of them sitting there in various stages of completion. Some are finished, some need another polish and some are a paragraph or two. Of those 31 only 3 are actually under consideration somewhere.
It's a liitle surprising that I have 28 stories that could be worked on. I had no idea that it was so many.
This doesn't include the stories that are still in longhand form on various bits of paper or in notebooks.
I know that all of these stories probably won't get published. Some of them aren't very good at all as they are but might lead to something, some are okay but need a polish but some of them are ready for submission.
I need to sort them out into what catagory they fall in and decide what's to be done with them.
I know what I'll be working on today.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Do you bother in December?

I was reading somewhere the other day an article about a freelance writer who said that they never submit in December. Their theory was that work submitted in December was more likely to be "misplaced" than at any other time of year. They also indicated that fewer stories/articles are accepted in December.
I've only been submitting for two years so I don't have a lot of experience to base it on but I did wonder what those of you with more experience thought.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


I was reading an article while I was in the bath about and I wondered if anyone had any experience of it. I know that Sally has used it and I was curious if anyone else had and what they thought about it.

Monday, 3 November 2008

The right time?

Can anybody out there give me any advice on when to submit seasonal stories. I'm always a bit wary of submitting them because I'm never sure if I'm doing it at the right time.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

A pocket full of paper

Yesterday I didn't get the chance to do any writing - you know the day job and all that. However, for some reason, I did get a lot of ideas for short stories. it was bizarre. I just kept thinking of them. I wrote them all down and even outlined a couple in a bit more detail. So I now have a pocket stuffed full of bits of paper. I'm sure a lot of them will come to nothing but at least it gives me something to work on. Or at least it will if I remember to empty the pocket before I put it in the washing machine.